Thurston Energy Efficiency Program Design Project


On August 4, 2020 the Board of County Commissioners approved $37,500 for a project with TCAT  to design and launch a community-wide energy efficiency program, with a proviso that other jurisdictions commit an additional $75,000 toward the program. The County Commissioners have since approved moving forward without additional financial commitment by the cities on a limited scope contract, to build a community partnership and develop a program design, as long as there is staff participation by the cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater. This would achieve the following objectives:

  1. Gather input from local jurisdictions on the final goals and deliverables of this project
  2. Get buy-in from existing housing and energy agencies and services through a collaborative program design process
  3. Produce a program design and multi-agency partnership to position our community to rapidly deploy the program as soon as Federal and State economic recovery funds become available.

The limited scope of work for this project (subject to revision based on input from supporting jurisdictions), to be conducted from March 2021 - June 2021, would include :

  1. Initial consultation with local jurisdictions to determine the final scope of work for the project
  2. Stakeholder Survey and follow-up interviews with potential partners including housing and energy agencies and service providers, to get input on goals, existing capabilities, service gaps and funding needs.
  3. Present a webinar with technical education on existing housing stock conditions, home energy upgrades and equipment, successful service delivery models, and an invitation to partner on the project
  4. Collaborative program design meetings with jurisdiction staff, housing agencies, and service providers
  5. Iterative review of draft program design with partners
  6. Deliver a Final Report, including:
    • Recommended program design, goals and strategies
    • Estimate of deliverable services and workplan for the first 3 years of program operation
    • List of participating partners
    • Scalable funding scenarios with potential sources of funding
    • Measurable anticipated outcomes of program implementation (i.e. # homes retrofitted, reduced energy use and GHG emissions,  and low-income home energy costs savings)

Total budget: $37,500.

Anticipated outcomes and benefits of this limited scope project:

  • “Shovel-ready” capability to launch a community-wide energy efficiency program by the 3rd quarter of 2021
  • Education to raise awareness and agencies commitment to expanding home energy efficiency improvements
  • Multi-agency Partnership prepared to seek and deploy state and/or federal economic recovery funding
  • Economic development strategy for a clean energy recovery, with equitable benefits to low-income and people-of-color community members.

While the program will be designed to serve all Thurston County residents, it will focus special attention on services for low-income residents, including those living in rental properties. Services to those residents will require a more intense level of direct investment than those for higher income households.  Services to moderate- to high-income households, on the other hand, will rely more on modest incentives and technical assistance to spur individuals’ investments in needed improvements.  

To that end, both the program design and implementation would involve significant collaboration among existing housing and energy agencies, service providers and financial institutions. This project would engage them to understand their experience, expertise and capacity and how these can be leveraged to expand energy efficiency services most economically and effectively. The project will identify important gaps in service capability, and how to work with community partners to fill them. The project would also help identify these organizations’ funding needs, and identify how state or federal stimulus funds could be deployed, when such funds become available. 

The participation of community groups representing low income people and people of color will also be critical to the success of this project.  Examples include CIELO, the Black Alliance of Thurston County, and area tribal governments (Squaxin Island, Nisqually, and Chehalis).

In addition to building a partnership with housing agencies and service providers, TCAT will continue to collaborate with the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan (TCMP) Steering Committee, to align the program with strategies, actions and implementation methods defined in the TCMP, and to leverage available resources to attract outside sources of funding.